Wednesday, October 29, 2014

November Newsletter


  • As October comes to a close, and the leaves change on the trees, I am reminded that the holiday season is upon us!  Although that means gratitude, giving, and happiness, it ALSO means choir concerts, Christmas parties, and re-scheduling lessons!  AHHH! Let's try to get as many of your conflicts taken care of ASAP.  Remember, if YOU cancel a lesson, you get a make up or can choose to forfeit, but you do NOT get a credit for it. So, you will want to make sure that you are "on the ball" with scheduling.
  • I have openings in my studio for students 16 years of age and older. If you refer someone that signs up for lessons, YOU get a FREE lesson!  Spread the word! Thank you to Ashlee Dorius who referred a new student this month! Take that credit Ashlee!! 
  • We have some students that are auditioning for their very first time this month!  We also have some experienced students waiting to hear back on some other important auditions!  Keep your fingers crossed for them! 
  • Congrats to Sonia Tomaso for making the Arizona All-State Show Choir!!  You are AWESOME! 


  • The week of Thanksgiving is always CRAZY!  As a reminder, I WILL be teaching on Wednesday November 26th and Friday November 28th. If you would like to reschedule your lesson, please do so ASAP.

  • If your lesson falls on Thanksgiving, I will be re-scheduling those lessons for the following Saturday, November 29th. Those will be scheduled over the next couple of weeks, during your normal lesson time. 

  • Tuition is DUE BY THE 1st!  Be sure to get it in the mail, PayPal, etc. Due to my illness this past month, a lot of you chose to take a credit for November. If you have questions about how much you owe please contact me. 


With schedules getting busier, it will become harder to find time to practice!  Try singing in the car, in the kitchen while baking, or in the shower!  :) The important thing is that you get your practicing time in!

Is there something that you would like to see change in the lesson policy or in your lessons?  Drop me an email and let me know about it!  I'm always looking for ways to make things easier or better for you guys!  (No, I won't assign rap songs.... so, don't ask.)

Here's to an awesome month of November!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Anatomy of Singing

So, how exactly does the voice work?

Well, as we inhale, the diaphragm muscle contracts causing the lungs to expand and air to be drawn into the lungs. As we exhale, the diaphragm will relax and move upward reducing the size of the lungs and causing air to be expelled from the lungs.

This exhaled breath is then forced out along the trachea, and through the vocal folds, which are capable of vibrating at an incredibly fast rate. For voice to exist at all, the vocal folds must vibrate and it is at this point that the vibration of the vocal folds, coupled with the power of the exhaling breath gives rise to the creation of vocal sound.

This sound is then shaped by the manipulation of the various structures along the vocal tract, such as the position of the tongue, and the larynx, etc. The articulators are the cheeks, tongue, teeth and lips and they all contribute to vocal articulation, whereas the sinus, chest, laryngeal and pharyngeal cavities all act as resonating chambers for the voice.

It is through the repetition of exercises, designed specifically to strengthen the larynx and the diaphragm, that the voice is trained. The singer is able to control the muscles in the diaphragm and the vocal tract resulting in increased quality of vocal tone and more power of vocal projection.

The Vocal Folds

Sound occurs as a result of vibration. This is true throughout all of Nature and is evident in a myriad of different forms. The human voice is no exception.

We have all heard of the term “vocal chords”. Current pedagogy, however, describes them as Vocal Folds, due to the malleable nature of their ligament-like structure.

The vocal folds attach to the front of the larynx at the Adam’s Apple (or thyroid cartilage) - and at the rear of the larynx, via the arytenoids, to the cricoid cartilage. Here the folds can come together and move apart, allowing for breathing and sound production.

The Larynx
The primary function of the larynx is to protect the airways and stop food entering into the lungs. The larynx itself is protected in the neck by an increase in muscle, cartilage and bone. The provision of sound is a secondary function of the vocal folds.

The vocal and vestibular folds close during the acts of swallowing, coughing, excreting, giving birth and when pushing or lifting heavy objects etc. This closing is called constriction. 

As we can see here, the vocal folds are suspended over the open space of the trachea, where they act as a sort of portal, through which all the air that comes into and goes out from the body must pass. We can also see the vestibular or false vocal folds which sit just above the delicate vocal folds, protecting them from damage through strain and swallowing. This is where constriction of the voice and the optimum retraction of false folds occurs.

The Lungs and the Diaphragm
Breath is crucial to the fundamental workings of the voice. Without breath there would be nothing to power the voice, or even to ensure that the vibration of the vocal folds can be heard. The Thoracic Diaphragm is a trampoline-like rainbow-shaped muscle stretched across the abdominal cavity, separating the organs of the chest cavity from those in the lower abdominal cavity. The movement of this muscle allows the lungs to expand and contract during the process of breathing.
The commonly heard phrase “Singing from the diaphragm” means that by expanding the abdomen during inhalation, increasing the rate of contraction in the diaphragm and taking more air into the lungs, the singer is able to provide more power, through increased breath support, and control through strengthening of the diaphragm muscle. We will cover proper use of the diaphragm later on.

The Sinus Cavities

Sinus cavities are found within the bone structure of the face, where they act as acoustic resonating chambers, adding higher frequencies and increasing the brightness and vitality of the sound.
The Sinus cavities are spaces in the skull which have various purposes such as airflow, drainage, etc.
Allowing the sound to come forward into the sinus cavities can help a student with volume as well as make it easier to sing certain pitches and placements.

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